|AFP - The clashes come amid mounting religious tension in Egypt|
CAIRO - One demonstrator was killed and dozens injured on Wednesday as Christian protesters clashed with Egyptian police over the denial of permission for a new church, a security official said.
The clashes came amid mounting sectarian tensions in the Arab world's most populous nation after Muslims set fire to homes owned by the family of a Christian man rumoured to have flirted with a Muslim girl in the south.
A security official told AFP that a young male demonstrator was killed during the protests over the church and that a senior police officer was among the injured.
Hundreds clashed sporadically with police through the morning in separate locations in the Talibiya district of Cairo's Giza governorate, with demonstrators throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, and the police responding with tear gas.
Around 20 police were injured in the clashes, including Giza's deputy security chief, as well as around 15 demonstrators.
The official MENA news agency said more than 3,000 people had taken part in the protests, 93 of whom were arrested.
Some of the protesters were led away with blood on their faces, after police hurled rocks at them from a bridge, the security official said.
He identified the dead man as Makarios Gad Shukr, 19.
Father Mina, from a church near the proposed new chapel, said Shukr was shot in the neck during one of the demonstrations in front of the governorate headquarters at around 6:30 am (0430 GMT).
Hundreds of Copts had gathered at the neighbouring church to complain about how they had been treated.
"People here feel very discriminated against. We can't build the church -- why are they stopping us?" asked Samih Rashid.
"Every street has a mosque, every church has a mosque next to it," he complained.
More than 20 Muslim residents of Talibiya chanting anti-Coptic slogans threw rocks at the demonstrators under a bridge on the ringroad where police had fired tear gas at the Copts.
Riot police were later deployed to hold back the Muslims, who were shouting: "In this district there will never be a church. We will not allow it."
One of the Coptic demonstrators complained: "This is the way the government starts sectarian strife."
"With our blood and with our souls, we will sacrifice our lives for you, oh Cross," the crowd chanted.
They were protesting against the government's decision not to allow the Copts to turn a community centre that they were building next to the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael church into a chapel.
Witnesses said construction workers had been arrested as they drove lorries along the ringroad to the site.
The authorities said the Copts had violated their construction licence.
Copts account for between six and 10 percent of Egypt's 80 million population and complain of systematic discrimination and marginalisation.
Non-Muslims are required to obtain a presidential decree to construct new religious buildings and must satisfy numerous conditions before permission is granted, in contrast to the ease with which mosques can be built.
Wednesday's clashes took place just days before Egypt is to go to the polls for a parliamentary election, which is expected to return the ruling National Democratic Party to power.
Sectarian tensions have been rising amid threats against Copts in Egypt by Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The jihadist network threatened to target the region's Christians if the Coptic church did not release two women rumoured to have converted to Islam. The Coptic church denied they had converted.
And in January, six Copts were killed by gunmen in southern Egypt as they emerged from mass on the eve of Coptic Christmas in the deadliest attack on the community since 2000.